Despite criticisms from many conservative evangelicals, the movie "The Shack" shows no signs of slowing down. In its second week at the box office, the film took in $10 million dropping only one place from its debut at number three last week, making it one of the more successful faith-based movies in recent years.
Directed by Stuart Hazeldine and written by John Fusco, the movie is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by William P. Young. The film stars Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Graham Greene, Radha Mitchell, Alice Braga and Tim McGraw.
The story revolves around Mackenzie ("Mack") Phillips. Mack's life is shattered, however, when Missy disappears during a camping trip while he is saving Kate and Josh from a canoeing accident. The police determine Missy is the victim of a serial killer after finding her torn dress and blood in a vacant cabin. The tragedy shatters Mack's faith and life until he receives a mysterious telegram signed by "Papa" (which is Nan's name for God) inviting him to come to the cabin. Reluctantly accepting, Mack travels there and is overcome with rage and suicidal thoughts, until he meets a mysterious trio of strangers who seek to help him understand, heal and forgive.
Dr. Michael Youssef, the founding and senior pastor of The Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, has listed at least 13 areas where the movie "The Shack" deviates from Scripture. Some of errors mentioned include God the Father was crucified with Jesus. God is limited by His love and cannot practice justice. On the Cross, God forgave all of humanity, whether they repent or not. Some choose a relationship with Him, but He forgives them all regardless.There is no such a thing as eternal judgment or torment in hell. There is not a hierarchical structure in the Godhead, just a circle of unity. There is no need for faith or reconciliation with God because everyone will make it to heaven.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. warned that the movie could very well be painting a wrong picture about what Christians believe. "The real danger, the seductive danger of 'The Shack,' is that it's presented as a retelling of the Christian story," Mohler said on his daily podcast "The Briefing" last week.
"Christians armed by Scripture and committed to the Christian worldview should highly value fiction and thus evaluate it by Christian norms. But we can never value a vehicle for importing heresy into the church or misrepresenting Christianity to the watching world."
One of the more controversial aspects of the movie, which deals with deep loss and tragedy, is its depiction of the Holy Trinity. God the Father (Papa), for instance, is played by Octavia Spencer, portrayed as a woman, while the Holy Spirit is also presented as a woman.
Jerry Newcombe, the senior producer and on-air host and a columnist for D. James Kennedy Ministries, said in an op-ed for The Christian Post that such a presentation could be considered heretical.
"I felt the movie was too New Age for my tastes. If Oprah Winfrey were to make a 'Christian' movie, 'The Shack' would be it. I felt it took too many liberties with the Person of God. God commands us to not to make any graven images," Newcombe said last week.